ISIS Apparently Likes Andrew Jackson Jihad. But Probably Not.

Categories: Weird

(via Twitter)

All evidence indicates that the hacker group calling themselves the Cyber Caliphate are amateurs. Their takedown of the U.S. military's Central Command's Twitter and YouTube accounts on Monday, followed by threats, leaked documents, only seemed to prove that the "jihadists" in question don't even know their own name.

Oh, but Cyber Caliphate appear to be fans of local folk-punk mainstays Andrew Jackson Jihad.

The breach, which lasted a mere two hours, was confirmed by the Pentagon, but it's doubtful any damage was done and the only "sensitive information" leaked turned out to be already readily available by the public.

Aside from a few ISIS propaganda videos that were posted, defense officials have said nothing classified got out, and now the FBI is on the case, so everyone can rest easy.

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What Is Black MIDI And What Does It Want With Your Soul?

Categories: Video, Weird


Sure, music is the highest form of art, but it rarely gets as abstract and conceptual as Black MIDI, a genre of electronic music that's pretty hard to dance to. But be warned: Black MIDI might give you nightmares, or, if you're epileptic, a seizure. Dealing with literally millions of notes in some cases, Black MIDI tends to overload a computer's RAM, causing it to glitch and lag in a tangled mess of number-crunching racket.

As you may know, MIDI stands for 'Musical Instrument Digital Interface,' which is a standard format for interconnection electronic instruments and computers. Commonly used in synthesizers and drum machines, MIDI's grid-based dashes and dits resemble a kind of Morse code, teaching the PC the duration, pitch, and volume of each note.

The "black" part of the name comes from how these "songs" appear in classical notation - the entire sheet of music looks almost completely black, like someone's printer on the fritz. The geeks interested in this kind of cacophonous symphony are known as "blackers." Starting in Japan around 2009, it would be a few years before Black MIDI crossed the pond. The first Black MIDI composer to reach notoriety was YouTube user kakakakaito1998, who first released his tune in February 2011.

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The Wind-Up Conspiracy Brings Their Old-Timey Gramophone DJ Sessions to Third Friday

Categories: Weird

Courtesy Photo
Birch (left) and Decca of Wind-Up Conspiracy.
It's pretty safe to say that Roosevelt Row has more than its share of mad DJ sessions conducted amid the arty milieus of both First and Third Friday, especially outside such venues as Jobot or Aside of Heart. But a madcap DJ session done on gramophones? Yeah, that's sort of different.

Such a scenario will unfold later tonight during Third Friday when DJ Birch and DJ Decca, a pair of downtown Phoenix artists interested in all things obscure and old-timey, will embark on a musical journey heretofore unheard of in the local scene -- a special wind-up DJ set on old school phonographs. Way old school, in fact.

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Heavy Metal Superfans Produce an Animated History of Corpse Face-Paint

Heavy Metal facepaint
An animated history of heavy metal face-paint, featuring Alice Cooper.
Smeared black-and-white corpse face-paint (with a little red blood spatter thrown in for good measure) is synonymous with extreme metal.

Whether it's to enhance a demonic theme or carry on cultural tradition, musicians that utilize the medium are definitely projecting a bold message. (For me, it often points to the fact that the musician is a black metal prima donna.)

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14 Albums That Prove Shark Week and Heavy Metal Belong Together

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Ed Schipul, Creative Commons
Not pictured: Great White
I used to look forward to the arrival of Shark Week like it was a new Hatebreed album release -- amped up and eager for new material and bloodshed. Unfortunately, after a couple years of tuning in, I realized that the masterminds behind the programming didn't really care to bring fresh perspective and stories into the game -- they were doing fine selling the recycled Shark Week content over and over again. Which, ironically, is pretty much how I felt about Hatebreed's two 2009 albums.

It may be a long shot, but I personally think that shark and heavy metal go hand-in-hand. They are both aggressive predators known for being man-eaters and a source of fascination and terror for millions. The theme from Jaws helped inspire horror movie scores for years to come, there's been a wealth of horror movies about sharks with metal soundtracks, and we can't discount the recent D-list made-for-TV movie Sharknado.

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10 Hilariously Dated Videos Weird Al Has Parodied

Categories: Lists, Video, Weird

Weird Al Fat video
"Weird Al" Yankovic has been releasing parody videos since people have been releasing actual videos. He's made fun of decade-defining artists for four decades running. Through all that -- while one-hit wonders fall out of view and genres and styles are declared officially over -- he's remained a timeless figure.

Which doesn't mean his parodies have always been timeless. In honor of his Sunday visit to Mesa Arts Center, we've put together a list of 10 hilariously dated videos Weird Al has parodied. (And any Weird Al fan knows we could have come up with 10 different but equally dated ones.)

Dated doesn't mean bad -- if the songs weren't enjoyable, it'd be tough to get much out of the parodies. This is just a tribute to the increasingly ridiculous way in which Weird Al has avoided getting stuck inside any of the time periods he's committed himself totally to mocking.

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Are Taylor Swift Greeting Cards Better Than Normal Greeting Cards? We Investigate.

Categories: Art, Weird

She's a multimillion-selling crop (country-pop) artist, a perfumer, and a maneater. Head over to your local Albertsons and take a gander at the greeting cards section and you'll discover Taylor Swift is also adept at slapping pictures of cute puppies onto cardstock and writing gems such as "Wow. Just Wow," on the front, too.

Yep, the 23-year-old mogul has the card market cornered, partnering up with American Greetings last year for a line of sugary-sweet visual cards that include images of everything from kids doing handstands to hands full of rose petals. So, how do the cards, uh, stack up?

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The Best and Worst Beatles Conspiracies (NSFW)

Categories: Weird

Conspiracy theories are my comfort food. After all, all a conspiracy is "the action of plotting or conspiring," and not just about tin-foil hats and Reptillians. When Reagan's cronies illegally sold weapons to Iran in the Iran-Contra Scandal, that was a conspiracy. When the CIA sold crack to kids in Mena, Arkansas, that was a conspiracy. When my mother guessed my brother was buying drugs from the neighbors, that was a conspiracy.

When it comes to music, conspiracy theories aren't in short number, but they are lacking in substance. That's probably because musicians have a lot less malicious intent than senators or the Illuminati. But there are some bands that attract conspiracy theories like you wouldn't believe, and The Beatles are at the top of the list. People really, really like writing and believing things about The Beatles (no matter how outlandish). So in honor of former singer Tony Sheridan (he sang with the group when they were called The Beat Brothers and weren't all that famous) who died on Saturday, February 16, I thought it would be fun to dive into the mythological canon and dig up some of the best and worst "Beatles Conspiracy Theories," including a few I made up, because why not?

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An Open Letter to My Neighbors: My Party Was Not a Rave

Categories: EDM, Weird

rave 1.jpg
Benjamin Leatherman / someone who likes dogs a lot
Left: a rave. Right: my party.
Dear neighbors,

I hate you. Your haircuts suck and your yard is ugly. To make matters worse, you called my landlord and then the cops on me because I was having a party you described as a "rave."

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Mars Volta Fight: Who'd Win -- Bosnian Rainbows or Anywhere?

Categories: Weird

What would happen if Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez got violent?
Have you had you're eyes glued to the psychedelic prog-rock message boards? If not, maybe you missed the news that The Mars Volta broke up, due in large part to lead guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's focus on his other band, Bosnian Rainbows. But you probably didn't miss the news, because The Mars Volta gets a lot of mainstream attention, despite releasing sprawling, massive progressive rock albums with impossible to pronounce song titles and weirdo album art.

You see, after Volta released its sixth album, Noctourniquet, last year, the El Paso-based progressive rock group went on hiatus instead of on tour. This made TMV's other half, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, feel pretty miffed, so he publicly quit (by publicly, I mean he posted on Twitter) and effectively broke up the band after an 11-year run, asking, "What am I suppose to do be some progressive house wife that's cool with watching their partner go fuck other bands?"

But hey -- Zavala has his own side-project with Mike Watt of fIREHOSE and Christian Eric Beaulieu of Triclops! It's called Anywhere and they released a self-titled album last year.

This brings us the very important question for us bloodthirsty journalists - who would win in a fight, Bosnian Rainbows or Anywhere? BR don't have an album out until this summer, so we'll only have a few YouTube clips to go off, but we'll try to make this as fair as possible. Alright, let's dive in.

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